Delivering creativity in the heart of communities — case study

Riots to Revoluton

‘Riots to Revoluton’ used real life testimonies of those who experienced the 1995 Marsh Farm riots and the rave to tell an alternative story of this notorious incident in Luton’s history. The performance took place as part of Paines Plough’s Roundabout popup theatre space, on the Marsh Farm estate in autumn 2016.

The story

  • In Summer 1995, ongoing tensions between local youths and the police exploded into violence on the Marsh Farm estate on the outskirts of Luton, when rumours began to circulate that a local 13-year-old had been beaten up by the police. Three nights of firebombing, joyriding and looting came to an end when the Exodus Collective drew 1,500 young people away from the estate to their nearby rave.

  • The idea for ‘Riots to Revoluton’ comes up when Glenn Jenkins from Marsh Farm Outreach (a grassroots community action project based on the Marsh Farm estate) meets the Revoluton Arts Director and suggested the incident as potential material for a play.

  • Revoluton’s Community Activist worked alongside Glenn to collect testimonies from local people who had been involved or witnessed the riots, and two local scriptwriters developed a script based on these interviews.

  • Freelance director Zephryn Taitte and dramaturg and scriptwriter Toby Clarke were commissioned to bring the material together.

  • Actors were recruited locally through Revoluton’s networks, and included both professionals and non-professionals.

  • The outcome was presented in the style of a ‘scratch’ performance, with the intention to further develop the piece.

Riots To Revoluton Case Study

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